As a lover and promoter of all things Indian (remember this Chicken Saag with crispy onions and this Chicken Tikka Masala? Holy yum!), I’m often looking for interesting new Indian preparations to try. Lucky for me, I got to spend a week with my adorable sister Annie in Washington D.C., and she knows all the best restaurants in town, including the most tasty Indian spots. With some finagling we got a small table in the lounge area of Rasika‘a Penn Quarter location and I was happy as a clam. Score!
My eyes passed over Chicken Green Masala with mint, coriander, and toasted spices on the menu, and my belly and I knew what we were having for dinner. I’m not always a big fan of mint, but I figured the Indian preparation would be a combination of sweet mint, spicy cilantro, and fiery chiles, so the mint wasn’t going to overpower the other ingredients. I’m not always the best menu item chooser (sounds weird, but it’s true, ask Doug), but this time I hit it out of the ballpark!
The Chicken Green Masala was fresh and bright, but still spicy and full-flavored. The tender dark meat of the chicken thighs helps to rein in the powerful sauce, adding some necessary meatiness and cooling the herbalicious heat. I. LOVED. IT. (In a way, this is like the Indian version of Green-as-Spring Veal Stew).
So, when my friend Raeshum and I were trying to decide what to cook for our men during Doug and I’s stay in Chicago, I knew we had to try making this Indian dish together. It’s awesome cooking Indian food with a lovely Indian lady, and between the two of us we’re pretty good at fixing up dishes to our liking. We found a recipe on Food and Wine‘s website and tweaked it to our liking, which meant doubling the spices and subbing in chicken stock for water to add more flavor to the sauce. The result was incredibly delicious and fairly easy, which makes this a great dinner for a weeknight or for company.
If you like Indian food and are looking to explore new flavors, this Chicken Green Masala should be next up on your t0-make list.
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Chicken Green Masala
This recipe is adapted from Vikram Sunderam. You can substitute unsweetened light coconut milk for full-fat unsweetened coconut milk, if desired. Serves 4 to 6. Click here to download a printable PDF copy of this recipe.
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1 jalapeño, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup water or chicken stock
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (1¾ pounds), cut into 1-inch pieces
3 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Basmati rice, for serving
1. Make the sauce. In a blender, combine the cilantro, mint, jalapeño, garlic, lemon juice and water (or chicken stock) and puree until smooth.
2. Brown the chicken. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken, season it with salt, pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden in spots, about 7 minutes. Set the chicken aside on a plate.
3. Finish the sauce. Add the onion and turmeric and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the cilantro puree and coconut milk, season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the chicken, and simmer over low heat until the sauce is slightly reduced and the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Serve with basmati rice.